Fears electric car mechanics could die without proper training

The growing popularity of electric vehicles is throwing up new challenges for mechanics and the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is warning that there could be tragic consequences unless new regulations are brought in.

It is concerned that the high voltage found in the vehicles could end up killing someone if they service an electric car without having the necessary knowledge. The IMI is now planning to launch a campaign calling on the Government to introduce regulations to safeguard mechanics and customers.

If you are handling more electric vehicle services, as well are ensuring your mechanics are properly trained and knowledgeable about the new vehicles, it’s important to have the right levels of motor trade insurance to deal with them.

The IMI wants the Government to introduce a licensing system to work on electric vehicles, which can contain circuits that are three times as powerful as the 230 volts in the mains supply.

IMI chief executive, Steve Nash, told The Independent: “Sooner or later somebody is going to attempt to do something they shouldn’t do and they are going to fry themselves. That will either be the person working on it who gets a 600- or 700-volt shock or it might be a member of the public exposed to a fire risk.

“It’s that serious. It’s not scaremongering. It’s real.”

Currently, there are an estimated 45,000 electric cars on the road and the Government is taking steps to encourage more drivers to make the switch, both via grants to buy new vehicles and by funding local infrastructure programmes to provide more charging points. However, of the estimated 180,000 car mechanics in the UK, only around 1,000 are specially trained to service electric vehicles.

Mr Nash added: “We need people who are at least qualified to the level where they know how to make the car safe before even trying the routine things like working on the brakes. There is the very real risk that someone might say, ‘Well, I’ll have a go’”.